As the world marked the International Press Freedom Day on Thursday, the AU Commission said it would not spare any effort to help strengthen the protection of journalists in the continent.
Dr Jean Ping, the Chairperson of the AU Commission said in Addis Ababa at the commemoration of the 2012 World Press Freedom Day that the AU, which has signed the African Platform on Access to Information, would ensure freedom of expression which serves as nursery of press freedom.
Ping said the Commission would also continue to make efforts with the cooperation of Member States to adapt to the new realities and needs of the populations, in monitoring the laws enforced in the States, on access to information and freedom of expression.
He said the celebration of the day was an opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms, attacks and unacceptable treatment practised across the world on journalists just because they attempted to do their work well.
Ping said it would also provide an opportunity to honour all those who lost their lives in carrying out their respective duties.
He said the Arab Spring of 2011, marked a turning point with regard to freedom of speech and the press, adding that popularising the use of media and social networks was a valuable opportunity to address the issue raised by the people.
``With new technologies such as social media, the people and the youth in particular, are rising to protest against all forms of injustice imposed on them and especially against infringements of the freedom of expression and human rights.
``To deny these rights is simply to suppress the whole concept of democracy. In deed, popular uprising have introduced a new dimension in relations as well as in communication between the government and the governed’’, he said.
Ping said the freedom of speech which was suppressed for too long, made way for the freedom of the press being celebrated globally.
He said it was through access to information, freedom of speech and freedom of press that citizens feel that they were part and parcel of the life of their countries.
Mr Shimelis Kamel, Ethiopia's Minister for Information and Communications said freedom of the mass media formed a critical base of development in Ethiopia as it helped in transforming the society.
Kamal said the supplementary regulation of media laws in the country were being fine-tuned by all interest groups.
He said there was no single journalist being detained by the government, and that the government had invested a lot of money in the provision of information infrastructure to enable the media perform its duties effectively without intimidation.